Peaceful Parenting Challenge – Week # 7: Watch Your Language

Last week we talked about the power of our thoughts to create our beliefs and affect our behavior. We spent the week developing positive self-talk; focusing on the words we use with ourselves. This week let’s take this a step further and share our positive language with our families. This week we are going to focus on the words we use with others.

Remember last week I explained that our brains create thoughts, memories and feelings via neurons. With each new experience the electrical current fires in a certain sequence, the more often they fire, the more likely they’ll be to fire in the same sequence next time. Eventually the repetition creates deeper pathwaytalk to childs. Just like with playing piano or riding a bike, the more you do it the more natural it is. When we have negative thoughts our brain fires more negatively and vice versa.

Our words really do become our child’s self-talk. The more they hear negative words from us the more negatively their little brain fires and vice versa. Positive and kind words give our children more confidence, make them feel happier, help them behave better, and encourages them to try hard. From our positive talk they learn to be kind, show respect and encourage others.

In addition, our brains process information in images. So when you say “don’t stand on the chair” your child imagines himself standing on a chair, which means he’s more likely to stand on the chair. Conversely when we us positive language we tell kids what to do instead of what not to do, so they are more likely to listen.

Negative language takes longer for the brain to process and affects your mood and your tone.

Here are some examples of changing negative language into positive responses:




Stop jumping on the couch. Please sit on the couch. You can jump on the floor.
Don’t forget your lunch. Remember to take your lunch.
It is going to be hard. It might be challenging but I have faith that you’ll figure it out.
No cookies before dinner. You can have a cookie after dinner.
Don’t hit your sister. Keep your hands to yourself.
No Yes
Stop whining! Speak in your normal voice. Can I have a hug?
Do you want a time-out (punitive)? Do you want to try some of that deep breathing we’ve been practicing?


Our words are powerful.  We have the ability to make a situation better or worse by what we say. We can inspire ourselves and others or we can be destructive with our words. The words we chose shape how we interact with our families and how they responds to us.

Using positive language will make you feel happier, lighten your tone and help you feel heard. Your family will respond my positively and this will help you break the misbehavior-negative reaction-negative feelings cycle.


Exercise: Practice using positive language. In your journal make a note of the response from your family and friends. Make note of how you feel. What were you thinking, feeling, and deciding? Also make note of times when you notice yourself using negative language and what you were thinking, feeling and deciding. Do this once each day this week.


Previous Posts In This Series:

Week #6 – Developing Positive Self-Talk

Week #5 – Practicing Presence

Week #4 – Slow Down

Week #3 – Practicing Mindfulness

Week #2 – Breathe

Week #1 – Creating Awareness

The Brain

10 Week Peaceful Parenting Workshop Introduction

August 19th, 2013 · No Comments

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